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Newcastle trainer Ben Smith looks to spring riches with El Dorado Dreaming after luckless third

THE LATE SHOW: The Ben Smith-trained El Dorado Dreaming, centre, finishes strongly for third in the Champagne Stakes on Saturday behind winner Seabrook and Bondi. Picture: AAP Newcastle trainer Ben Smith was wondering what could have been but was excited about what’s to come for El Dorado Dreaming after her luckless third in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
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Backing up from her fairytale win at 100-1 in the group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) two weeks earlier, El Dorado Dreaming ($7.50) finished 1.3 lengths third in the $500,000 final leg of the Sydney autumn two-year-old triple crown.

The Mick Price-trained Seabrook($9), which is part-owned by Newcastle’s Tony Price,came from second-last to beat Bondi ($7.50) by a half length.

Jason Collettwas reprimanded for careless riding and questioned about his decisions on El Dorado Dreaming, which did not gain clear running until approaching the 200mmark.

Smith eyes spring run TweetFacebook Hunter hopes at RandwickAAPSmith was pleased with the effort from his filly but disappointed she didn’tfinish closer.

“She was really unlucky and probably should have figured in the finish a lot more than she did,” Smith said.“But she’s proven she’s up to them. She’s finished the last two legs of the triple crown with a win and an unlucky third.

“We’ll target the Sydney-Melbourne spring carnival with her and keep her in those three-year-old fillies races.

“You’ve got the Flight Stakes in Sydney, then we might look at a 1000 Guineas in Melbourne, or see if she can run an Oaks trip.

“We’ll just be guided by the horse. We’ll keep stepping her up and set her for those things, but just see how far she gets.

“She’s pulled up really well. She got knocked around a bit in the run but she’s a tough little bugger.”

As for the ride from Collett, who was aboard El Dorado Dreaming for the first time, he said: “You’ve got to have bit of luck but I still thought he could have peeled to the outside a bit earlier than that but he elected to stick on the inside of those runners. But I’m not out there, he is. If he’d have won the race, he’d be a genius.”

Newcastle trainer Kris Lees’ Le Romain went even closer in the other group 1 feature at Randwick, the All Aged Stakes.

The three-time group 1 winner, a close second in the race last year, hit the lead in the straight but wasbeaten a head by$2.30 favourite Trapeze Artist to finish second again

Le Romain ($11) was third run back from a six-month break followingcolic surgery.

Newcastle trainer Paul Perry’s stable, meanwhile, said The Mission would head to the Brisbane winter carnival after an encouraging two-lengths fifth in the race.

AAP reports:Nic’s Vendetta graduated from the Highway Handicap series with a victory that edgedapprentice Mikayla Weir to outrideher country claim.

The five-year-old gelding gave Weir her first city winner in a Highway Handicap at Warwick Farm last July, and theycombined again at Randwick over 1200m to upset favourite Ori On Fire.

Weir, 24, produced an astute rails run for Muswellbrook trainer Todd Howlett to win by a long neck.

“He’s one of a kind that horse. He’s truly been the horse that’s got my career to where it needs to be,” she said.

“One more win and the claim is gone. I needed that at this point in my career to be able to keep kicking along.”

Weir, a former barrel racer and rodeo rider, is apprenticed to Howlett.

“The run panned out exactly how I wanted,” she said.

“To be on Hugh’s back was a big advantage. I knew he would take me a long way into the race and when he rolled off the fence it gave me every hope in the world to be able to get by him.

“At the top of the rise I was struggling a little bit but he just kept fighting. After the rise I knew I had him.”

Nic’s Vendetta ($6) preserved his perfect second-up record leading Howlett to joke about his immediate future.

“Maybe I should be putting him back out,” he said.

Howlett thought a midweek race would now be on the agenda and possibly an off season Saturday race as Nic’s Vendetta seeks a fifth career win.

Northern River ($11) filled out the minor placings a length further back.

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